assignment 4-4: interpreting “The Falling Man”

Due: Monday 11/7

Format: Bring two printed and stapled copies of your essay to class. Also, please bring all your past paper drafts, revision notes, and statements of purpose that you wrote for your essays.

Length: Aim for a full three pages, which is a “safe” length that you should strive to meet (or exceed) in all three of your final portfolio essays.

Directions: Using what you learned from your previous writing about Tom Junod’s magazine article “The Falling Man,” write a formal essay that pulls all the pieces together into a clear and coherent explanation of the article as a whole. How do Junod’s main strategies fit together in order to accomplish his overall purpose, given his audience and context — as you understand it? In other words, use your sense of Junod’s rhetorical situation to support the interpretation you offer.

As you write, use the quoting/paraphrasing guidelines you learned in class (download handout here) to incorporate and analyze evidence from “The Falling Man.” You can also use properly-cited evidence from class discussion and the writing of others in class to support your critical interpretation. Use this essay as a chance to demonstrate how your particular understanding of this text has been arrived at critically, so choose your supporting evidence from across the text.

In the writing you turn in, remember that you’re moving from “writing to learn” to “writing to communicate.” In part, this means you should attend to how other people might interpret the comic differently from you (and why). Write to others in a way that addresses what might matter to them. This also means that you should pay attention to the conventions that have developed over time in academic writing. Please remember the helpful overview of components of an academic essay on pages 148-149 in your DK Handbook.

Include the essay elements that we’ve been working on all semester:

  • A thesis statement that reflects your purpose and that you maintain in each paragraph of your paper
  • An introduction and a creative title (something other than the name of the assignment)
  • Ample supporting evidence in the form of direct quotes and paraphrases
  • A summary of Junod’s essay as needed to help readers understand what he’s saying and to contextualize your analysis
  • Clear sentences in the Plain Style
  • Format your paper according to MLA guidelines on page 330 in the DK Handbook. Also read this web page for a description of how to format your margins, spacing, etc. in your word processor. If you are confused about how to double space or page-number your essay automatically, please check out that link or ask me for help.
  • Correct MLA citations and a Works Cited page

    • The basic MLA format for in-text citations is on page 344 in the DK Handbook.
    • Include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper. See page 355 in the DK Handbook for an example of what this looks like. Pages 364-365 shows the Works Cited page citation for “parts of books.”

assignment 3-4: forming interpretive questions

Due: Wednesday, October 19
Format: Leave a comment on this post
Length: At least two questions

In class on Monday, we returned to our observations about “A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge.” (Check out this document [RTF] to see a list of these observations.)  We tried to explain some of these observations as choices or strategies that Neufeld is using to accomplish a purpose, with an audience in mind and a context at hand. For Assignment 3-4, write two (or more, if you like)  interpretive questions about “A.D.” We will discuss these questions in class on Wednesday.

You can use the DK Handbook page 108 and page 120 to help you. Please give your questions a lead-in or a bit of context so that we know where you’re coming from and so that you are not just rephrasing an observation from the list as a question. For example, don’t simply ask

Why does Neufeld make his comic all about black vs. white?

This question is too broad, and it gives no context for what you mean by “all about,” “vs.” or how you think Neufeld actually handles the issue of racial division. The question doesn’t add anything to the discussion because it simply takes a binary from the list and poses it as a “why?” question. Instead, do a bit more work by being specific and adding some interpretation to your interpretive question.  To be more specific, you could cite a passage or a particular scene as an example, you could define/analyze a key term in your question, or you could explain a point of uncertainty in your thinking so that we know where the question comes from.